Monthly Archives: April 2012

Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus with Dallandaise Sauce

In my pantry today:

  • 1 large baking potato
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1/2 c moong dal
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c half and half
  • 2.25 tsp Greek seasoning
  • 2.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

The fridge determined that today was asparagus’ day; you don’t commit to the purchase of asparagus without committing to preparing it within a day or so — she is too fine a lady to be kept waiting with the other rabble.

Peel and dice that bigass potato; cut into 1/4″ fan-shaped wedges and toss with 1.5 tsp safflower oil, that onion you cubed, 1.5 tsp Greek seasoning, 1/2 tsp garlic and 3/4 tsp hot red chili powder. Arrange in a gently overlapping, covered layer in a baking dish and put in a 400° oven for 45 minutes. At that point, uncover the pan and add asparagus tossed with 1/2 tsp each safflower oil and Greek seasoning. Fan it out along the top of the taters and put back in the oven for 10-14m, depending on how green you like yours.

In the time between potatoes going in and asparagus going on top of it, make your delicious dallandaise! Boil dal for 20-30m, drain and add back to the pot with butter and 1 tsp garlic. Mush it all together, adding half and half as you go. Dash 1/4 tsp each: Greek seasoning and hot red chili powder (which is being used instead of paprika, as that is a spice without much harumph). If you’d like it a little thinner, add more half and half or unsweetened almond milk.

Serve the potatoes and asparagus hot from the oven smothered in the dallandaise. It was conceived as an idea to add protein to the roasted items so as to make a more complete meal… and it delivered unanticipated WIN. I will be making variations of this again. 5 damn spoons!

 

 

Leftover Soup: Springtime Edition

In my pantry today:

Whatever you didn’t eat off the hen the other day needs to go, bones ‘n all, into a large stock pot with enough water to barely cover and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil on MH then reduce heat to ML and let cook all day… then you’ve got two main options: let it cool and pick out all the bones, or at the end of the night put it into the fridge because you’ve got no time to pick the carcass clean and also make sure the dishes are out of the sink but oh god first you’ve got to unload the dishwasher and its late so maybe tomorrow.  I chose the latter.

So today I warmed the pot a little, strained out the broth (set aside) and picked the carcass clean. Put picked meat (I had about 1c) with the previously-vegetarian lentil dish; bring 2-2.5 c of the broth (you should have about 4c left to freeze) to a boil on MH and, once rolling, turn heat to L and add the solids. Serve over room-temperature rice; since it’s fully cooked, don’t mix it in prior to serving or risk a bowl of swollen snooge — the broth will heat it. 5 spoons! I am just about drained of my own (spoons, that is), and this was a great way to make a delicious chilly weather meal that’s full of nutrients (phyto- and otherwise) and the Don’tYouWasteMe fridge gang. The only way this could’ve ended up more Smack Yo Mama good is with the addition of cayenne or hot red chili powder.

Start with Color! (or “I Shall Name Thee Kalentils von Sweeten Tater”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c dried lentils
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 leaves of kale, pulled from stem
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/4 c half and half
  • 1 tsp kala jeera
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cinammon
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 c cooked Basmati rice

This will be a beautiful bright green and orange dish as you begin cooking; heat will of course wilt the beauty of nature… but rest assured that you will still be putting many valuable phytonutrients into your body! Start with vegetable ghee in a cold pan heating to M. Carelessly of aesthetic, cube-chop onion and sauté. Rip kale leaves from stem and toss them with the onion. Add seasonings, coat everything and when kale begins to wilt, upturn the entire pan into the food processor with 1/4 c broth and puree for 5-6m. Add it back to the pan with sweet potato pieces, lentils (soaked for an hour, so now 2c worth) and 1.75 c vegetable broth. Bring to simmer on MH then reduce heat to ML, cover and let cook for 30-45 minutes (or until sweet potatoes are at a consistency you like — I go for as tender as is possible without losing shape). When close to serving, stir in the cream; serve over Basmati rice. This dish was 4 spoons of culinary delight, and the leftovers, being so rich and chunky with lentils, are slated to base an excellent soup. Because, by The Hammer of Thor, I want to and will make soup again before November.

Whole Bird with Tubers!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 2.65 lb chicken
  • 1 extra large baking potato
  • 1 average sweet potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 pearl onions, skinned
  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c dill seeds
  • 1/3 c hot curry powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

Turns out I ate some spoiled cippoline sott’aceto in Venice about a decade ago that forever ruined pearl onions for me — just go ahead and use regular onions. I’m giving the rest of the uncooked onions to my brother upon this memories’ harkening to one of few moments that were un-outstanding during my summer in Italy. Grossballs.

"Living Room of the Renaissance"

I lived here in 2000. Jealous? (You should be.)

Fortunately, I had been too lazy to peel many and the potatoes and carrots were still just fine. Preheat the oven to 425° and set about to the washing, peeling and prepping of your root vegetables. Lay them in a gently overlapping layer inside a large casserole dish and drizzle 1/4 c olive oil atop. Layer seasonings:

  • 1/8 c dill seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Toss until everything’s evenly coated, then cover the pan and stick it in the oven for an hour.

Now it is time to handle the larger part of something’s carcass. Mix the remainder of your seasonings with the remainder of your olive oil until a nice, paste-like uniformity reveals itself. Rinse your chicken inside and out under cold water and cut off that little dangling fat turd that dangles off its butt. Cut finger-sized slits in the skin on the wings, legs, thighs and breasts and first massage in some of the seasonings and olive oil between the meat and skin, then move to all other major outer areas, and end with a cavity massage with 1/4 of the paste.

When the tubers come out, downgrade your oven temperature to 350° and slap in your foil-covered chicken pan. Now, I was under the impression that 20 minutes per lb was the general chicken-roasting rule. Maybe I should’ve checked the internet for a brain-freshening on this, because it’s taken a bit more than that. I’d budget 90 minutes before your first check, and possibly another 30 after that depending on your oven’s maw. Regardless, the deliciousness will repay your patience: 5 spoons!

Tonight’s bonus (since I just flipped through some old pictures) is this classy photo of me in my room at the Università degli Studi di Urbino. Nobody thinks to tell the fattest girl on the plane that a summer anywhere in Europe unofficially requires a physical fitness certification. I remember having waking paralysis in my bed there some nights, but above all else — the heat, the sun, forcing my legs up mountains — the determination to never be the last straggler on walks. It would be another eight years before my diagnosis and I just assumed all of my problems were due to my heft. That’s what all the doctors said, and who doesn’t believe their doctor? So, dogged in my resolve, I traveled the peninsula at about 300lbs with another 200lbs of luggage in my arms (art history courses abroad should be considered suspect to the over-burdened traveler). I like to regard the entire amazing odyssey as a small turning point in just how much shit I was willing to take from my body — nothing was going to steal even a moment of where I got to be. Not even that pubescent gypsy who stole my wallet on the subway in Milan.

Spring Snap Soup (& Cheese Quesadillas)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c leftover hibachi rice
  • 1 15 oz can snaps-n-peas
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 c diced roma tomato
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida

Well, hello tonight’s low of 44° in April! I generally swear by the delineation between “soup weather” and “salad weather,” but every now and then things happen in this world that we (as not-meteorologists) cannot explain. Just when I was bemoaning the first day of the year to hit 90° along comes one week later, and I am glut with the fast food that extra-routinized variables bring even after two days of Norovirus‘ enforced foodlessness. All current conditions point to a forecast of soup!

The post ratio of the last week and shameful public admittance to eating too much fast food should tell all of you junior detectives this: leftovers. Crap, leftovers. Start some ghee melting in a pot on M while you first being pulling various things out of the fridge. Throw in those leftover diced onions from the bacon tacos and after a minute or two, toss in the also taco-leftover tomatoes and garlic paste. Swirl. Open, rinse and rain your snap peas and add them to the pot. Sprinkle on your remaining seasonings and stir. Add broth, stir, add rice, stir, add uncut cilantro leaves, stir. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to L and serve before your rice swells up and kills the mood.

For leftovers, applaud! This is an easy 4 spoons of soup, and will be served alongside tiny quesadillas made from taco night’s three leftover rounds.

Bacon Soft Tacos with Mandarin-Cilantro Kaleslaw

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lb thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 c shredded kale
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese (I’m using something called “Fiesta Blend”)
  • 6 or so flour tortillas
  • 1/4 c mandarin vinaigrette
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Fiesta chili powder
  • 2 tbsp onions, minced
  • 2 diced roma tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp sour cream

I’m having a tough day (y’know, the stupid disease) so we’re gonna try to keep this quick. Please tell me you already know how to cook bacon and dice things up (I’m betting you do). This is mostly going to be a post about the “kaleslaw,” for, lo, it was good:

Mince Kale along a parallel, then perpendiculize its ass a time or two. I sliced about 1/2 cm along a parallel to shred, then I gave a couple minces across the grid in my mind (so as to, as they say, “perpendiculize”). Immediately massage the vinaigrette into the lil lengths, then set aside. Mince your cilantro and toss it in with the seasonings listed above then let the whole mess marinate for a few hours. Upon the dining hour, layer bacon with cheese, onions, and tomato then top with kaleslaw to taste. Oh, and sour cream to taste.

This recipe allows for a great deal of bacon grease to reserve; as close to animal-free as my diet wants to become (and the more I cannot abide the thought of eating large slabs of flesh), it can’t argue with fat (in small amounts) being flavor. And did you know, sweet readers, that bacon could ever be made more delicious? It apparently is so: the sweetness and spice of the slaw went in tandem with bacon’s sweet serenade. I will make this slaw, or more likely just a slaw like it, again. 5 spoons!